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Two stand out FA Cup fixtures occurred on this date, with Queens Park Rangers visiting in 1961 in the 2nd round of the competition, with Ashford eventually losing the tie 0-3.
Whilst in 1996 it was a glorious Monday night in Essex, that saw Paul Chambers hit the vital winning penalty in a shoot-out at Dagenham & Redbridge after the sides had drawn one each in a 1st round replay.
A bit more detail on the two games is as follows:-
Sat 25 November 1961 FA Cup 2nd Round – Ashford Town 0 Queens Park Rangers 3 – Attendance 5200
The Nuts & Bolts having reached the 1st round in the two proceeding years, this time went one better by getting to the 2nd round for the first time in their history.
Having been exempt until the fourth qualifying round, a 3-1 win at home to Dover in front of 2507 was attained thanks to goals from John Shepherd and an own goal before Gordon Burden added a third. This was followed by a 0-0 draw at Wycombe Wanderers in the 1st round, the replay being won 3-0 on Wed 8 Nov with 3223 in attendance, with goals coming from Joe White, Ron Clayton and Shepherd.
So onto the historic QPR match which was apparently and extra one shilling and thruppence to sit on a wooden bench right by the touchline.
On a bright crisp November day, Ashford had twice struck the woodwork in the first-half, but aided by two mistakes by home keeper Les Haydon, the R’s progressed thanks to second-half goals from Bernard Evans, John Collins & John McClelland. For the record QPR didn’t progress beyond the next round as they were well beaten 6-1 at Turf Moor by Burnley.
Ashford Town: Les Haydon, Jack Gregory, Jack Edwards, Ron Peplow, John Harris, Arthur Hughes, Brian Payne, John Shepherd, Joe White, Ron Clayton, Gordon Burden.
QPR: Drinkwater, Bentley, Ingham, Keen, Rutter, Angell, McClellend, Bedford, Evans, Collins,Towers.
Mon 25 November 1996 FA Cup 1st Round Replay – Dagenham & Redbridge 1 Ashford Town 1 (4-3 on penalties) – Attendance 2424 Referee Mark Halsey
Ashford had reached the 1st round a season earlier in 1994-95 losing to Fulham 3-5 in a replay (but that is a story for another day) and a year on found themselves at the same stage of the competition.
Again exempt until the 4th qualifying round following the exploits 12 months earlier, Stuart White and a Matt Carruthers brace sent Kingstonian packing 3-1 at the Homelands on 26 Oct and once again Ashford had a home tie in the 1st round proper.
In front of 1813, Ashford twice came from behind to end level at 2-2 with the Daggers, which on the balance of play was probably a fair result. The visitors struck after 15 minutes through John Stimson, but the Nuts & Bolts restored parity 11 minutes later when Tommy Warrilow rose well and converted with his head from a Jeff Ross corner.
Nicky Dent – who had an outstanding game – forced two great saves from Paul Gothard before the break, but in the 67th minute Glyn Creaser thundered a rocket shot past Maurice Munden to put the Daggers back in front.
The visitors joy lasted just five minutes when Ross broke clear and his whipped cross was brilliantly turned into the far corner by Dent to set up the replay at Dagenhams’s Victoria Road ground.
What a night the replay was as the sides ended 90 minutes at 1-1, despite a mistake from Munden, gifting the hosts a fifth minute lead from former Maidstone and Dover striker Tony Rogers. Carruthers who had been released by the Royal Marines in order to play got to the byline in the 75th minute to tee up White, who stabbed the ball home through a crowded penalty area for his fourth goal of the season.
30 minutes extra time failed to produce a winner and so the drama of penalties was needed, with the Daggers then hitting the bar from their first penalty.
White scored for Ashford and it was very much advantage to the visitors when David Pratt put his kick wide of the target, but Goathard then saved Dent’s spot kick, Andy Allon & Ross then converted and with Dagenham also converting their kicks it meant the vital kick fell to Chambers.
The Kentish Express describing the crucial kick as follows ” The burly, clean scalped midfielder struck his spot kick sweetly and Ashford were through with their jubilant fans celebrating on the pitch with the delighted players”.
It all meant that Ashford had made it to the second round for only the third time, what followed was a trip to Watford, which was another great day out although the side were beaten by five goals.
Ashford Town: Maurice Munden, Andy Morris (Nigel Donn 46), Paul O’Brien, Andy Allon, Tommy Warrilow, Carlton Wynter, Jason Wheeler, Stuart White, Matt Carruthers (Paul Chambers 112), Nicky Dent, Jeff Ross Sub unused Tom Parks
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